A crash landing, a banana and a ham sandwich

Norman and Geoffrey Game (interviewed in August 2009). The brothers were living at 187 Cornard Road, near the Brook Inn, during the war. In Story 4 in the section ‘Life and Death with the 486th’, there is an account of how a B-17 from Station 174 crash-landed nearby – they were two of the five children who their mother put under the kitchen table when the stricken bomber roared overhead. What follows is put together from their memories.

They remember visiting the scene of the crash. They were unsure whether it was that same day or later but there was no one guarding the plane. Norman remembers looking inside the fuselage and seeing rolls and rolls of silver paper (the foil which were carried for dropping over Germany to confuse enemy radar.)

‘Everybody had rolls of it during and after the war – you could find it and all sorts of stuff in the pit over the back there. Marrisons dug it to get gravel –they had big old Dodge lorries. Lots of gravel was needed to build all the airfields, and the Americans used it as a dump. People say that there were bullets, live shells, even whole planes there – some people have talked about getting a digger in to dig them all out.

We think the crashed plane was removed on a large trailer, Queen Mary trailer, big but light – it’s only a narrow lane down to the railway crossing and where it crashed – they say it was twice as wide after the trailer went down it!’
Norman remembers looking out of the back bedroom window and seeing what he was told was a doodlebug going by, right to left, and the distinctive noise they made. He also remembers his brother Geoff, ‘He must have been off school that day and we were coming home from school and he was there running across the field, it had just been cut, and he was all excited because he had a banana! We had heard all about bananas but never seen one. Running across the field with a banana!’

We’ve got three elder sisters – Peggy, Daphne and Joan. Daph. was born in 1928 so she would have been seventeen when the War finished. She was going out with a guy called Goldtooth, we called him that for obvious reasons. Well, she brought him home one day for tea, or it might have been supper. Mum gave him a ham sandwich. Goldtooth was very appreciative of the sandwich and she was trying to do the right thing, you know, as any mum would, and she offered him mustard. Well, their mustard is like relish, very mild, and he smarmed it all over the sandwich! Mum didn’t know what to do and just said nothing. Well, tears!! But he didn’t splutter or say anything and to his credit he ate it! Mum was always admiring of him because he did the proper thing!

 

A much earlier image from the 1920s but clearly showing the white horse and the penny farthing

A much earlier image from the 1920s but clearly showing the white horse and the penny farthing

Our dad had a lorry. You know, there was another big base at Wormingford and some of them must have known each other and he used to give them a lift, bring them back, picking them up in Bures. He also used to sell bikes to the Yanks.
You know the ‘White Horse’ – there’s that white horse over the pub. Well they reckon, one night one of the Yanks got up there on its back – not sure if there are any photos of him. And there was Green’s bicycle shop next door or next door but one. Had a penny farthing over the front. Well, a Yank got up on that as well.

 

You remember the ‘Green Dragon’ – had green tiles on the front. Well, Dick Osborne was home on leave – he’s 91 now – and he was just going into the pub one day and Ernie was coming to the door – big old man he was – and he said ‘Hold the door open mate!’ So Dick held it open and Ernie came out with this Yank in his arms and chucked him into the street!”

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